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Broken Kite Strings: The Impact of a Divorced Father's Relationship With His Adult Children on Their Attitude of Filial Obligation to Him
adult children of divorced parents
the attitude toward filial obligation
Due to rising divorce rates in Taiwan in recent years, the makeup of families has become increasingly complex. The most challenging complexity is the residential arrangements for children of divorce and the subsequent effects of these arrangements on these children. Asset allocation and child custody are challenges. A single mother raising a child alone has not only the problem of lacking economic resources but also the pressure of educating the child if the child lives with mother after parents divorcing. Since non-resident fathers usually don’t participate in the child’s daily life, the relational gap between father and child is often enlarged. Undoubtedly, the deconstruction of the family will have a great impact on intergenerational relationships. How will the interactional processes between adult children of divorced parents and non-resident fathers evolve through the process of and after divorce? How do the thoughts and feelings of adult children of divorced parents and their emotional connections with their parents affect their attitude toward filial obligation to their non-resident fathers? This study includes five narratives about adult children of divorced parents depicting their emotional and interactional processes with their parents and their attitude toward filial obligation to their non-resident fathers. The study found that the thoughts and feelings of adult children of divorced parents toward their fathers are affected by whether or not they perceive their father to fufill his role as father. The thoughts and feelings may come from the mother, but also partly from the views of adult children of divorced parents when they grow up. The parent-child relationship established between father and child before the divorce is closely related to the development of their intergenerational relationship. This intergenerational relationship also directly affects the attitude toward filial obligation of adult children of divorced parents to their non-resident fathers. If the father-child interaction is good before the divorce, even if the father does not live with the child after the divorce the child will still be eager to retain the relationship between father and child when he/she grows up. If the emotions between father and child are not deep before the divorce but later the father actively cares about the child and maintains a relationship with the child, the interaction between the child and the non-resident father will gradually improve. In short, whether parents divorce or not, if fathers fulfill their duty to establish a positive parent-child relationship with their children, actively maintaining interaction with their children, the intergenerational relationship will most likely be stronger. It also indirectly affects the attitude toward filial obligation of adult children of divorced parents to their non-resident fathers. In addition, because adult children of divorced parents usually feel emotionally closer to their mothers, the relationship between adult children of divorced parents and non-resident fathers is quite easily influenced by the mother's words, behaviors, and emotions.Nevertheless, even if the child prioritizes responsibilities to the mother who lives with him, if the child maintains a good relationship with the father, the child will also likely be more willing to fulfill filial obligations for the sake of his/her relationship with the father. As for the method of filial piety, good inter-generational relations make children willing to give emotional support, while monetary giving need not be based on intergenerational relationships.
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